Christie's to launch 20th and 21st Century Art Evening sales in May

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Christie's to launch 20th and 21st Century Art Evening sales in May
Christie’s will be offering a Claude Monet’s Waterloo Bridge, effet de brouillard, 1899-1903, Estimate on Request (in the region of $35 million) as a central highlight of its 20th Century Auction. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

NEW YORK, NY.- Beginning in New York this May, Christie’s will shift its approach to presenting the art of the 20th and 21st Century in anticipation of a new era for the art world. Christie’s will now offer major auctions of “20th Century Art” and “21st Century Art”, replacing Impressionist and Modern and Post-War and Contemporary nomenclatures. The new format will underscore the radical nature of the Modern Masters and their lasting impact on the art being created today, it will emphasize the electricity and relevance of the art created over the past 40 years, and make plenty room for the new – both physical and digital.

Alexander Rotter, chairman of 20th & 21st Century Art remarked: ‘At Christie’s, we are embracing the spirit of evolution and revolution, and shifting the way we present the art of the 20th and 21st Centuries to reflect a new day. This time of upheaval has had an enormous impact on the art world. It has impacted the nature of art that is being created today and has altered our understanding on the art of the past. This new format allows us to bring our new found perspective forward to the market in an exciting and dynamic way. We are looking forward to what the future has to bring.’

The new format reflects evolving market demand and the collecting habits of our clients, and will allow for a more dynamic approach to serving the marketplace. By removing art from the context of its assigned movements, Christie’s seeks to make new stylistic connections, approach topics such as race and revolution from a new lens, and create space to amplify voices that have been historically overlooked and undervalued. The sales will create a new platform to elevate masterworks and discover new and extraordinary works.

To set the new sale format apart from the previous iterations, Christie’s has developed innovative new branding, which aims to create a sense of continuity between the 20th and 21st Centuries, while drawing on the individual identities of each period, playing into the spirit of evolution and revolution. Exhibitions of both sales will be given a distinctive treatment inspired by the distinguishing stylistic features of the 20th and 21st Centuries, oriented towards enhancing the in-person viewing experiences. Virtual exhibitions are also very much a priority. Custom virtual gallery settings have been created for each century, specifically designed to further enhance the at-home viewing experience of both physical and digital art. Please see the teaser video here.

(1880’s to 1980’s)

To launch its 20th and 21st Century Marquee Week in New York this May, Christie’s will be offering a Claude Monet’s Waterloo Bridge, effet de brouillard, 1899-1903, Estimate on Request (in the region of $35 million) as a central highlight of its 20th Century Auction. This rare and important painting is a fine example of Monet’s celebrated Waterloo Bridge series, an exquisite example of his capacity to capture the ephemeral, intangible effects of light on the River Thames. With these pivotal works, Monet effectively paved the way for the trajectory of 20th Century Art as we now know it. For additional information, please view the dedicated press release, and video.

Monet’s Waterloo Bridge, effet de brouillard, will be joined by Andy Warhol’s Nine Multicolored Marilyns (Reversal Series), 1979-1986 (estimate in the region of $7 million) in the 20th Century Evening Sale. The present work brings together two of the greatest cultural figures of the last fifty years: the Pop artist Andy Warhol and the Hollywood movie star Marilyn Monroe. Painted towards the end of Warhol’s life, this large canvas is a triumphant return to the subject matter with which Warhol first visited in 1962, his iconic Gold Marilyn Monroe, now in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and remains one of the most iconic paintings of the 20th Century.

(1980’s into the future)

Martin Kippenberger’s Martin, ab in die Ecke und schäm Dich (Martin, Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself) from 1989 is one of the most influential sculptural works of the last 35 years (estimate: $10-15 million). The first of 6 unique variants created by the artist over the course of several years – three of which reside in museum collections – the present work launched a definitive series for both the artist and the trajectory of 21st Century Art. Executed in 1989, Martin, Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself was created in reaction to a negative article by art critic Wolfgang Max Faust. Depicting the artist in a self-imposed state of schoolboy punishment, this work represents the epitome of the artist’s masterful self-portraiture and his signature rebellion against the art world status quo. Often portraying himself in a raw and unflattering state, Kippenberger’s reinvention of the artistic tradition of self-portraits challenges the concept of artist as icon.

The 21st Century Evening Sale will also be underscored by a pivotal work by Jordan Casteel. Painted in 2013, Jiréh (estimate: $350,000-550,000) is an important painting by Jordan Casteel, the first of her large-scale portrayals of the Black male nude in which she employs a palette of rich high-keyed color to challenge our understanding of the nature of Blackness. The sitter is Jiréh Breon Holder, a playwright and theater director who subsequently became friends with the artist, and although it is his penetrating gaze that holds our attention, Casteel’s paintings are as much about challenging our assumptions of color, as they are about the personality of the individuals she portrays. Exhibited in retrospectives at the Denver Museum of Art and the New Museum in New York, Jiréh has been widely included in the literature about the artist, including in the recent HBO documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light.

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